2016 Scholarship Essay Contest Third Place

Neblett Beard and Arsenault



Age: 18
Hometown: Ruston, LA
Currently attending:Mississippi college



As you are slowly waved past the scene of wreck by a police officer, two cars lay completely crushed, one completely flipped over. Smoke is rising from each and blows in the wind. It is eerily quiet as bodies are laid on stretchers and one car’s stereo still plays, its tinny sound echoing in the dead silence. You shake your head as you continue to drive, and send a quick text to your friend about what you just saw.

Now, you might think that’s ridiculous! Texting and driving right after driving past such a horrible wreck? Unfortunately, this scene is quite a common sight today, and a harshly ironic example of the occurrences of distracted driving today. One might believe that distracted driving includes only using a cell phone while driving, but there are in fact many more aspects of distracted driving. According to the US Government Website for Distracted Driving, these include: eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading (including maps), using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting the radio. Now it is quite unreasonable to say that you must not take a sip of water or glance at your GPS while driving, but it is very important to keep such activities at a minimum.

Although I have not struggled with texting and driving, I have often found myself taking my eyes off the road for a bit too lengthy amount of time to change the radio station, or to check the map on my phone, as I am directionally challenged. I believe that it is tempting to do such activities for every driver. To remedy this, we must dig to the root of the issue. Distracted driving stems from the selfishness of drivers. We want to see or do what we want to see or do when we want to see or do it, despite the fact that we could kill someone. The welfare of other drivers in relation to heeding driving laws is the last thing on our minds. That may seem harsh but it is the cold hard truth. According to the Huffington Post, 9 Americans die every day as a result of distracted driving.

I believe that the key to reducing the occurrences of distracted driving is to educate people about the seriousness of it, and raise awareness about the technology that we can use that are not so distracting. For example, I think the government should require every driving citizen to attend a seminar about distracted driving every 3 years. These seminars should include realistic portrayals of accidents resulting from distracted driving and should be eye opening and convincing. When I attended driver’s education class at age 15, there was a video we watched about real victims of automobile crashes who did not wear a seatbelt, and their stories are still etched into my mind every time I click my seatbelt. That was three years ago, as I am now 18; thus, proving the power of the crash video. If the government requires such a class about distracted driving every three years, then hopefully drivers will have those stories etched in their mind also; the stories will come to their mind the next time they are tempted to respond to a text or search for a song on their phone while driving. Furthermore, I believe these classes should include information and advertisement about the technology one can uses to reduce the temptations to glance at your phone while driving.

Distracted driving has become a common problem in the United States and has caused many tragic accidents and deaths. But we can remedy this. It is not too late to lower the trend of this problem. We must educate the American people of the dangers associated with distracted driving, and I believe they will listen.